Although the tatzelwurm – or clawed serpent – is the best-known Central European cryptid (see FT208:46–49), it tends to be dismissed as a thing of the past. However, sightings of the creature, or at least of large and unusual reptiles, continue to this very day. Because the tatzelwurm (with its regional names – stollenwurm in Switzerland, bergstutzen in Austria, or basilisco in Italy) is now generally regarded as a “mythical beast”, sightings tend to be reported as escaped crocodiles or “dinosaurs”. Yet they happen in the same regions as the traditional tatzelwurm reports, and are merely updated to fit current tastes.
So, when a boy observed something that once would have been called a tatzelwurm in April 2007 in Upper Austria, where tatzelwurms were seen repeatedly in the 19th century, it was reported as an escaped exotic pet: “A Lizard 50cm long. Unknown reptile in the Enns Valley. The observation, by a 12-year-old boy, has caused quite a stir. He claims to have seen a brown lizard, 50cm long, on the bank of the Enns River near Ternberg.” Read more
Saturday, March 26, 2011
The Tatzelwurm Lives!
Do recent reports of mystery lizards herald the return of the legendary tatzelwurm to its traditional alpine haunts?